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Darwin is the administrative capital of the Northern Territory and is called the capital of tropical Australia because it is lush and green, full of tropical plants and the perfume of Frangipanis. The cyclone season is from November to April, when there are stunning electrical storms and predictable afternoon rains. The city had to be virtually rebuilt after being devastated by cyclone Tracy in 1974. Darwin is also the most multicultural city in Australia, boasting over 75 nationalities, a large indigenous population (25 percent) and a diverse range of immigrants from Asia. The Stuart Highway - The Track - is the only road out of town and runs 2,800 km south to Adelaide. Since 2004, Darwin has had a rail link to the great southern cities of Adelaide, Melbourne, Perth, and Sydney. The Ghan passenger train service runs twice a week.
Darwin is a young city with a young and vibrant population, and it is famously packed with young travelers during the dry season. Outdoor living is the norm and outdoor activities and adventures are the main attractions, with breathtaking natural parks in close proximity. Central Darwin is compact and easily explored on foot, although the suburbs are more spread out.
Australian dining is almost always an easy-going and casual experience, even in smart restaurants. Darwin restaurants have a fabulous range of fresh seafood, primarily the superb local Barramundi fish. Local wildlife such as kangaroo, crocodile, buffalo, emu and camel can also be found on many menus. International cuisine is also on offer including Mediterranean, Thai, Malay and Chinese. Pubs also have very large menus and are a popular alternative.
Australia has long been a country of tea-drinkers, but coffee has taken over in recent times. Darwin has plenty of local roasters and specialist baristas, now boasting lots of cosy cafés, patisseries and seaside eateries to choose from. So whether you fancy a long and relaxing brunch, a quick coffee or an afternoon drink, you'll find exactly what you're looking for in garden cafes of specialist bakeries.
Darwin has always had a reputation for playing hard, and now young travelers keep up the tradition, especially on the weekends. The city has also become very cosmopolitan and varied, with fabulous multicultural markets, shopping centres, casinos, nightclubs, a smorgasbord of restaurants and, of course, pubs galore.
Darwin is no great shakes as a designer shopping venue, except in terms of outback necessities, aboriginal artifacts and surf gear. The main shopping areas are Mitchell Street and the parallel pedestrian precinct of Smith Street. Mitchell Street offers mainly tour excursion shops, cafés, bars, Internet cafés, aboriginal art and artifacts and a few other miscellaneous shops. The Smith Street pedestrian precinct is a more relaxing retail environment with fountains, outdoor cafés, bookshops, shoe shops and tourist stores.
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